Local man seeks support for niece with terminal disease

By Dan West | Dec 11, 2013
Source: change.org McKenzie Lowe

Searsport — A young New Hampshire girl diagnosed with brain cancer is running short on time while her family, including uncle Robert Lowe, of Searsport, work to raise support to get her an experimental new treatment.

Twelve-year-old McKenzie Lowe was diagnosed a year ago with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an inoperable type of brain tumor, which doctors said was on average fatal at 9 months. However, treatments last spring were successful in shrinking her tumor, said Robert Lowe.

Now, Lowe said, the tumor has again begun to grow and this time more rapidly. Traditional treatments will no longer slow its growth, said Lowe, but a new experimental treatment called Antineoplastons therapy could.

Antineoplastons therapy is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means McKenzie cannot receive the treatment without a "compassionate use" exemption, according to the family's petition page on change.org. The FDA has made 471 exemptions for this treatment to date.

"This is a shot that has to be taken," Lowe said.

In order to get McKenzie on the list for such an exemption, Lowe said the family will need to get 100,000 signatures on an online petition, which they will send to New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan. The governor will then forward the petition to the FDA and President Barack Obama, Lowe said.

Once the petition is received the FDA will then decided whether to grant the exemption.

Currently the petition, which can be found at change.org, has more than 55,000 signatures and Lowe said more than 500 are added every day. In addition to asking people to sign the petition Lowe said he plans to visit State Senator Michael Thibodeau and other local legislators to ask for any help they could give.

"I've been talking to people all around Maine," Lowe said. "The great thing about Maine people is we pull together to help when someone is in need."

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